Records Management

 Texas Local Government Code


BODY.  The governing body of a local government, including a commissioners court with regard to nonselective county offices, shall:

(1)  establish, promote, and support an active and continuing program for the efficient and economical management of all local government records;

(2)  cause policies and procedures to be developed for the administration of the program under the direction of the records management officer;

(3)  facilitate the creation and maintenance of local government records containing adequate and proper documentation of the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, and essential transactions of the local government and designed to furnish the information necessary to protect the legal and financial rights of the local government, the state, and persons affected by the activities of the local government;

(4)  facilitate the identification and preservation of local government records that are of permanent value;

(5)  facilitate the identification and protection of essential local government records;  and

(6)  cooperate with the commission in its conduct of statewide records management surveys.


Added by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 1248, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.      


§ 203.023. DUTIES OF RECORDS MANAGEMENT OFFICER.  The records management officer in each local government shall:
(1)  assist in establishing and developing policies and procedures for a records management program for the local government;
(2)  administer the records management program and provide assistance to custodians for the purposes of reducing the costs and improving the efficiency of recordkeeping;
(3)  in cooperation with the custodians of the records:                       
    (A)  prepare and file with the director and librarian the records control schedules and amended schedules required by Section 203.041 and the list of obsolete records as provided by Section 203.044;  and
    (B)  prepare or direct the preparation of requests for authorization to destroy records not on an approved control schedule as provided by Section 203.045, of requests to destroy the originals of permanent records that have been microfilmed as provided by Section 204.008, and of electronic storage authorization requests as provided by Section 205.007;
(4)  in cooperation with custodians, identify and take adequate steps to preserve local government records that are of permanent value;
(5)  in cooperation with custodians, identify and take adequate steps to protect essential local government records;
(6)  in cooperation with custodians, ensure that the maintenance, preservation, microfilming, destruction, or other disposition of records is carried out in accordance with the policies and procedures of the local government's records management program and the requirements of this subtitle and rules adopted under it;
(7)  disseminate to the governing body and custodians information concerning state laws, administrative rules, and the policies of the government relating to local government records;  and
(8)  in cooperation with custodians, establish procedures to ensure that the handling of records in any context of the records management program by the records management officer or those under the officer's authority is carried out with due regard for:
    (A)  the duties and responsibilities of custodians that may be imposed by law;  and
    (B)  the confidentiality of information in records to which access is restricted by law.
Added by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 1248, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989.        
§ 205.002. AUTHORIZATION.  Any local government record data may be stored electronically in addition to or instead of source documents in paper or other media, subject to the requirements of this chapter and rules adopted under it.


Added by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 1248, § 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1989

 What is a Record?

Records are the outputs that record each and every business and administrative transaction of an institution and details about its students, members of staff and all its external contacts. They are the essential resource for its effective continuation. They also form its collective memory that must be available beyond the memory or working life of any single member of staff.


The record is the final statement about the transaction or business process which it represents. Once 'declared', it must remain unaltered across time, no matter how many times it is recalled for use. It will contain unique information and/or data and is likely to be the end result of a document and version management process. If the information or data it contains is required for further processing then this should be copied and a new document created. You must bear in mind that even when the transmission method of a record may use paper and surface mail the document is likely to have been created electronically in a PC using a word−processing package. The original may therefore be the final electronic, pre−printing−out version rather than a photocopy or second printout copy that is placed in a manual filing system. If the paper version is signed or otherwise formally authenticated then that will be considered as the 'original' in law.


 What is Records Management?

Almost every activity of business or government is accomplished or documented though some form of record information, instructions, directives, and other communication that are routinely circulated through an organization.

To be useful, records must be managed.  They must be available when they are needed.  This function is called records management.  Records management provides for the systematic control of records from creation, or receipt, through their processing, distribution, organization, storage and retrieval to their ultimate disposition. 


Benefits of Effective Records Management


Effective records management ensures accuracy and efficiency in our organization.  It safeguards the legacy of historical records. We provide imaging programs for all departments that save money, manpower, time and space.


Careful compliance to sound records management principles reduces the risk with security and legal liability.  A comprehensive records program provides protection from costly litigation if records were destroyed when they should have been kept, or were not destroyed at the appropriate time, likewise, with electronic records which are managed in the same manner as paper records.


Penalty under the law

202.008 An officer or employee of a local government commits an offense if the officer or employee knowingly or intentionally violates this subtitle or rules adopted under it by destroying or alienating a local government record in contravention of this subtitle or by intentionally failing to deliver records to a successor in office as provided by Section 201.006 (a).  An offense under this section is a Class A misdemeanor.


 Electronic Document Imaging (EDI)

EDI is a technology used to convert and process paper documents and/or microfilm to digital electronic information. It describes processes that store copies of documents in digital format (computer readable) and their associated character-coded index data for retrieval. These systems are pictorial, and originate from scanned documents. Scanned images can be stored either on optical media or magnetic media.

Advantages of imaging include:

SPACE SAVINGS - Optical disks and magnetic media offer greater storage potential than corresponding paper filing cabinets.

RAPID RETRIEVAL - Faster access to records reduces labor costs, thus eliminating significant personnel overhead. Faster retrieval also increases customer service.

CONCURRENT ACCESS - Two or more users can access data at the same time over an imaged enabled network.

IMAGE ENHANCEMENT - Poor quality originals can be enhanced by software designed to remove noise and increase brightness and edge sharpness.

OPTICAL CHARACTER RECOGNITION - Scanned documents can be converted to machine readable text by the use of optical character recognition software, thus eliminating the need to index the documents in some cases.

WORKFLOW - A workflow system can automate and control certain business processes. The system can schedule processing; route documents automatically among departments and can track each transaction's status.


 What is a Records Retention Schedule?

The records retention schedule is the document, required by §203.041, Texas Local Government Code that lists the agency's records and establishes the retention period for each records series including the length of time the records will be maintained in the agency offices and inactive storage before final disposition. The schedule shows the security status of the records (open or confidential), designates records that have archival value, verifies the record medium, and identifies vital records. The Form SLR 500, Records Retention Schedule, is the mandatory for designated for all agency records retention schedules. The form can be obtained from the State and Local Records Management Division.

The records management officer conducts or oversees the preparation of this retention schedule based on data gathered during the records inventory and on other factors such as legal retention requirements and agency directives regarding retention. The records management officer is responsible for submitting the retention schedule to the State and Local Records Management Division and keeping records management information current by amending the schedule as needed.

The records management officer distributes the retention schedule or otherwise makes the information available within the agency. No changes or deviations from the schedule are to be made without the records management officer's approval. In addition to coordinating compliance throughout the agency for maintenance of records for the approved retention period, the records management officer has a very important function to ensure that records listed on the schedule are handled appropriately according to their security status and value as vital records.


 What is a Transmittal?

A transmittal is a form used to transfer inactive records to the warehouse.  It states the record title, description, year, retention and box number.


 Records Warehouse

Records have various stages of activity.  Records that are still required but are not frequently accessed are considered inactive records and are usually sent to storage for the remainder of their life span. The records warehouse uses a custom built bar-coding system to identify, and access those records quickly, easily, and accurately when they are needed by the user while applying retention policy. It tracks the record from retrieval to its return, and flags the record when it reaches its retention period.


 Identifying E-mail Messages Subject to Retention

"How long do I keep e-mail?”

You treat e-mails the same you would paper records, meaning that you retain them for as long as you’d keep their paper equivalent.

The El Paso Community College District approved Control Schedule or Declaration of Compliance with the Local Government Records Retention Schedules provides access to the record series and the retention period for each series. You will find all college record schedules on the records management web-site, under “Control Schedules”.  E-mail has to be retained according to its content.  If an e-mail serves as a contract, it is retained as long as contracts are retained.  If an e-mail is a sick leave request, it is treated just like a paper sick leave request.   E-mail that comprise a college record needs to be identified, managed , protected and retained for as long as needed to meet the administrative, legal, financial, and historical needs of the college.


Examples of messages sent by e-mail that typically are college records include: 


  • Correspondence and Internal Memoranda:

(a) Administrative – Correspondence and internal memoranda pertaining to or arising from routine administration or operation of the policies, programs, services, and projects of a local government.  Retention: 3 years.

(b) General – Incoming/outgoing and internal correspondence pertaining to the regular and routine operations of the policies, programs, services, or projects of the college. May also include subject files, which are collections of correspondence, memos, and printed material on various individuals, actives and topics.  Retention:  1 year

(c) Routine – Correspondence and internal memoranda such as letters of transmittal, requests for publications, internal meetings notice and similar routine matters.  Retention:  AV (after purpose of record is no longer deemed administratively valuable.)


  • Work schedules and assignments Retention:  3 years
  • Policies and directives  Retention:  5 years
  • Drafts that are circulated for comment or approval  Retention:  AV
  • Any document that initiates, authorizes, or completes a business transaction  Retention:  7 years

Examples of messages that typically do not constitute a collage record are:


  • Personal messages or announcements.
  • Copies or extracts of documents distributed for convenience or reference.
  • Announcements of social events.
  • Spam.


Delete e-mail records after they have been filed in a record keeping system.

Delete records of transitory or little value that do not document college activity.


 Who May Access the Records Warehouse?

Access to the warehouse is limited to those specific named individuals designated by the department head to act as their liaison. Persons entering the warehouse must state the purpose of their visit, present college ID, and sign in and sign out of the warehouse with time and date. They will be escorted to the storage area by the records clerk. Records Management never directly releases records to anyone who is not authorized to check out records.


 How to Request a Record From the Warehouse?

The records liaison may email their request to Bonnie Prieto/Gus Luevano.  Please provide the record title, box number and file name (if you are only requesting a file from the box). 

If someone other than the authorized liaison is requesting to pick up the file from the warehouse, we must have written permission from the department heard authorizing the individual to have the record.


 On Site Research

From time to time there may be a need for you or your staff to visit the warehouse to perform research.  A research station is available for those who require access to multiple records. When you approach the warehouse for entry, please be prepared to state your business, present college ID and sign in before you are escorted into the warehouse.


 Records Management Retention Committee

The purpose of this committee is to provide guidance for the Records Director for establishing and operating a retention and disposition program as a component of the records management covering:


  • Periods of time for records to be maintained.
  • Appropriated methods for disposition of records.
  • Measures to be taken when a records disposition must be suspended due to litigation or audit.